We had planned to pick up cash in Calafate before jumping on the bus to El Chalten. Had we known two things we would have certainly made the extra effort….
1. The bus would not leave on time; it was oversubscribed and we ended up having to wait for second bus
2. The ATM in El Chalten had been without any money for four days
Consequently we arrived with not a lot of dosh to our name. Potentially not an issue, as we were destined to be self sufficient with enough food to cover six days of camping and $400 Argentine pesos in our pocket for emergencies.
It wasn’t until we started on our third (out of four) partly used gas canisters, far earlier than planned, we realised things might get a little too tight for comfort. We had, reluctantly, agreed to try to help make inroads into the mountain of gas left over by previous trekkers that had stayed at Lautaro, in Calafate. Only problem in that is you are never 100% sure as to how much each has been actually used… The “shake test” only a broad indication; We took four of the fullest we could find.
Three meals, four breakfasts to go, it was time start rationing gas use. Less brews and to hell with the possibility of nocturnal visits by scavenging grey foxes…. we started to soak our trekking staple of porridge overnight in the tent too. We even joined both right hand sleeping bags to conserve energy and save on fuel; I stayed warmer for longer and needed less hot brews of an early evening … Complete wuss, that I am, as quick as you could say ‘sundown’, I was already tucked up in my double thermal and ‘duner’ layers.
We had a Plan B and a back up Plan C (natch). Not that we would need either but we figured if we weren’t charged for both nights camping at Paidre del Fraile, we would have enough for simple supper at El Chalten… should our gas run out (camping outside of town).
Our guardian angel was defo with us on this trip….. We marched into El Chalten with just enough gas to make a final last brew, clutching one unused bag of porridge and a handful of dried snacks.
Luckily, the only thing that had eaten into our paltry funds was a one off camping fee….. We had enough in our pockets for a longed for beer from the microbrewery AND a few cheeky empanadas for the bus journey back to Calafate. Bring.It.On!!!